Dalí and the Art of Horror
The latest instalment of the Halloween series.
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) allowed his imagination free rein. The exotic, bizarre, grotesque and disgusting frequently appeared in Dalí’s art – much more than this short selection – so there is no shortage of images that deal with putrefaction, excrement, bodily deformity, idiocy, cruelty, sadism and so forth, in addition to images of outright horror. This selection focuses on the latter, though you will find plenty to disgust you in Dalí’s art.
What is aspect that is unusual about Dalí is that so many of these fantasies made it to canvas. Usually, with most artists, weird caprices rarer go beyond drawings for private amusement or cathartic expression. To devote time and energy to material that would under most circumstances be unsaleable shows a degree of dedication to one’s private obsessions, something very true of Dalí. Dalí lacked a filter between the private and public. He talked openly (and wrote about) about his darkest fantasies, despite understanding that he was repulsing people and breaking taboos. Dalí was a committed Surrealist in that he really did not care about the mores of conventional society.